Obama Bites the Wealthy Hands that Feed Him

Aren't politicians usually nice to their campaign contibutors?

As long as there has been politics, there have been political betrayals.  The unfulfilled dream of every captain of industry is to find a politician who is dishonest enough to accept bribes, but honest enough to stay bought long enough for the buyer to get his money back.

Of course, not everyone who donates to a politician can expect him to pay any attention.  One would suppose, however, that an industry which donated millions to Barack Obama would, at the very least, not be demonized.

One would be wrong.  In 2008, the Democrats and Mr. Obama in particular benefited from the largess of the extremely wealthy, most particularly the financial industry.

What did these mammoth amounts buy them?  Precious little:

The president received nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs. That would be the same Goldman Sachs that the government is now accusing of civil fraud tied to those subprime mortgage investments.

Federal law prohibits a company from giving directly to an election campaign; so this money came from Goldman's political action committee and employees. The $1 million represents the president's second largest contributor... and these donations from Wall Street's top investment bank to Mr. Obama were more than four times what they gave to John McCain... Records show in the 2008 election, three out of every four dollars given by Goldman went to Democrats.

Now, it's possible that Goldman Sachs really has committed crimes and fraud, in which case its campaign contributions should be no shield to justice.  After all, Bernie Madoff shelled out big bucks to Democrats too, yet he's behind bars where he belongs.

There is, however, a difference: Madoff was not repeatedly visiting the White House while prosecutors prepared the case against him.  Fox News reports:

Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein visited the White House at least four times as lawyers for his firm negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over possible civil-fraud charges, according to White House logs obtained by McClatchy Newspapers... The White House logs show that Blankfein, Goldman's chairman and chief executive, traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Obama and also met twice with Obama's top economic adviser, Larry Summers.

The White House logs are a matter of public record; the visits are a fact.  What was discussed?  We'll never know; the White House denies having anything to do with the Justice Department's case.  Blankfein and Mr. Obama might have had something else perfectly innocent to discuss - like finding a job for one of Mr. Obama's friends:

Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side - President Barack Obama's former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

What, precisely, is going on?  Simple: money can be used to buy power, and power can be used to make money.  The circle revolves, as it always has, no matter the new politics Candidate Obama promised.  As we know from history, however, there's a difference; money can buy power, but power can simply take money.

Gold cannot always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold.

- Niccolo Machiavelli

A large section of the Democratic party is always keen to take money from whoever happens to have any by whatever means they can cobble together.  Thanks to Mr. Obama's rhetoric demonizing banks combined with - let's be fair - the banks' own egregious blunders which should have bankrupted them save for the timely intervention of your tax dollars, most Americans are not too fond of bankers just now.

Did their massive Democratic political donations buy them protection?  Or were they merely selling Mr. Obama the rope with which to hang them?

The great German industrialists of the 1930s thought they'd "hired Hitler" to protect them from the starving masses and to return Germany to preeminence.  They soon discovered that they and their corporations were handcuffed to the Nazi war machine for good or ill, no longer masters of their own fate.  Not long thereafter, their factories were flattened and families destroyed by Allied bombs.  Their investment in empowering the Nazi Party turned out to be a very bad idea indeed.

Unfortunately for them, they had no democratic opportunity to correct their mistake.  Barack Obama, for all his faults, is no Nazi, and we have every expectation of a free and fair Congressional election this fall and Presidential two years hence.

Will the barons of Wall Street learn their lesson?  They certainly shouldn't expect to get their money back: the Democratic Senators who took Madoff's stolen money kept it in their pockets while his victims starve.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Economics.
Reader Comments
Goood!Very interesting for a Non American(USA)reader.
"Simple: money can be used to buy power, and power can be used to make money. The circle revolves, as it always has, no matter the new politics Candidate Obama promised. As we know from history, however, there's a difference; money can buy power, but power can simply take money."
So these are your so called 'Democratic Values' you preach world over?For God's sake revisit your Conscious as a nation and mend your duel facet for preaching and practicing.
May 1, 2010 7:10 AM
And you don't think it works that way in your Muslim nations, A.L.PURI? It is inherently part of human nature that the wealthy have more power.

The purpose of a democratic government is to make sure that the wealthy don't have ALL the power. The US is certainly not perfect in this regard, no not at all; but it is far closer to judicial equality for rich and poor than most if not all other nations. As proof - people are complaining strongly about Obama's actions in this regard, and his party will get a very harsh but peaceful rebuke at the next election. When was the last time an election threw out a sheikh?
May 1, 2010 9:02 AM
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